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Harrington still has Major ambitions

Harrington still has Major ambitions

Padraig Harrington may be just a month away from being eligible for senior golf but the Ryder Cup Captain admits he still dreams of winning another Major Championship.

Padraig Harrington

The Irishman tees it up this week at the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open looking for a 16th European Tour win, nearly five years since his last at the 2016 Portugal Masters.

That victory was his first since he claimed his third Major at the 2008 US PGA Championship to go with his back to back Open Championship triumphs in 2007 and 2008.

He also won this title in 2007 and while he would love to win on home soil again this week at Mount Juliet Estate, he also still has his eyes on golf's big four.

"What gets me up in the morning is another Major," he said. "What gets me out practising, the reason I work so hard at this game is another Major.

"Sometimes, maybe I should be considering the stepping stones to another Major and just competing well and finishing top 10s and making cuts even and progressing that way. But that really doesn't do it for me.

Padraig Harrington

"The chance of winning a Major is everything. You know, that's what gives me a buzz, and to be honest, there's not many things that would change my resumé when it comes to golf. There's not something that would really change what I've done. 

"Even winning another Major isn't that big a deal, from three to four. But it's something I dream about. Maybe winning a Ryder Cup would be something that I can put on and add to my resumé there.

"I see some nice form. I'm always working away at things and trying to get my game in shape. At the moment I'm working more on my mental game. That's a good sign. That's normally when you get the better results. 

"But I saw some good green shoots last week and it's following on this week so far and hopefully I'll keep doing it and play my game, do my stuff and hopefully Sunday with a few holes to go, I have a chance and enjoy those feelings of being stressed out under pressure for the last couple of holes."

Another Major Champion in the field this week is 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell, who will serve as one of Harrington's Vice Captains later this year at Whistling Straits.

What gets me out practising, the reason I work so hard at this game is another Major

The Northern Irishman ended a six year winless run on the European Tour when he won last season's Saudi International but since then he has recorded just one top ten worldwide.

The 41-year-old believes the Covid-19 hiatus stalled some of the momentum gained throughout 2019 and 2020, but he is determined to get back to the top of the game.

"It's been a really tough 12 months," he said. "It's been certainly one of the tougher 12 months that I can remember in my career. Because the disappointing thing was, going into the time off, I was actually really starting to get a heed of steam up. I won in Saudi, finished well in Hawaii and played well in the first round of The Players Championship.

"Like the dream of playing a Ryder Cup was starting to be very real all of a sudden and I felt like I had a pretty good spell during my time off. Worked on the sort of physical side of my game. Worked out quite a lot. Felt pretty good.

"And then got back on the golf course and things started going sideways.

Graeme McDowell

"The last couple of months has been about trying to reset, reflect on where I'm at, the mistakes I've been making the last 12 months and realizing that 25, 30 years into a golf career, I'm not really going to be changing my pattern much at this point, and I need to do the things that I do. 

"My basics need to be done better. Just do the small things better. That's been starting to turn the corner the last five, six weeks.

"But then it's just the mental side of the game that's just not there. My confidence is low. My expectation levels are high, so really trying to adjust that. At this point, I really should be out here playing golf tournaments, enjoying myself, everything else is gravy from here. If I wasn't to hit another shot here, it's been a great run. It's been a great career.

"But I'm not ready to walk away. I've got things that I want to achieve and it's about kind of just refocusing on what does success look like for me now. It's different from what it looked like ten years ago and just making sure that I do a better job and give myself the ability to go on the golf course, relax, enjoy, the old cliché, get out of my own way. 

"That's kind of where I'm at right now. The game is probably closer than it looks on paper. Just not really putting numbers on the board but I don't really feel like I'm miles away."

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